In order for the Lithuanian language to thrive in the modern world, Lithuanian digital products and services must be made more accessible to anyone who is interested in using them. Together, Vilnius University, the Robotics Academy and the software development company Novian Systems have been working to achieve this goal. The LIEPA-2 project, which is dedicated to developing Lithuanian-language-controlled services, has created a set of tools that allow users to listen to digital products and services in Lithuanian.
During the first stage of the project, titled LIEPA, the focus was on developing a natural-sounding Lithuanian text-to-speech synthesiser that would voice the information shown on a screen. In particular, by voicing the selected information, the electronic reader made the information far more accessible to blind people. The second stage of the project, or LIEPA-2, was devoted to developing a version of the synthesiser that is compatible with the mobile environment.
To develop services that are compatible with the mobile environment, the project partners had to work in three separate directions; namely, improving the language identifier, the speech corpus, and the synthesiser.
For these solutions to work, the current speech corpus had to be improved, while the synthesiser and the language identifier drivers had to be made compatible with the mobile environment, and various e-services needed to be created.
The LIEPA-2 project started by adapting the language identification and synthesis drivers and their components for mobile equipment, which was followed by the creation of e-services.
“Novian Systems” was involved in creating an online news reader, as well as a voice dialler, an interlanguage (Lithuanian-Chinese) communicator, and a Lithuanian-language voice-activated taxi caller. In achieving this goal, the company was responsible for coordinating the app development, building the architecture for the solution, and ensuring that the developed products continued to run smoothly.
Additionally, over the course of the project, the humanoid robot Ąžuolas (in English – Oak) was adapted to the Lithuanian language to meet the educational needs of children, and a mobile synthesiser was created for the blind.
The software developed by Novian Systems and its partners allows people to also use Lithuanian-language-based e-products and services on their mobile devices by downloading specific apps:
- The online news reader is a mobile app that gathers online news and reads it aloud, in a synthesised form of the Lithuanian language.
- The voice dialler is a mobile app that allows the user to call their chosen contact and manages the contacts available on the user’s phone.
- The taxi caller is a mobile app that allows the user to call a taxi on their phone by giving voice commands to a Lithuanian-speaking robot.
- The interlanguage communicator is a mobile app that helps the user to understand the Chinese language, by displaying 37 phrases said by the user in Lithuanian in Chinese characters on the screen of their phone. Conversely, it also translates and voices in Lithuanian 37 Chinese phrases that are displayed on the screen in Chinese characters.